Menchie’s Owner Ishvar Patel recently talked with us about the Menchie’s philosophy and his vision for the store today and in the future.
GAC: How and why did you choose to open Menchie’s?
Ishvar Patel: Approximately 7-8 years ago, my family and I came across a Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop as customers and were instantly mesmerized with the entire outlook of the store from their mission statement to their warm and friendly environment. We witnessed multiple families with kids jumping with excitement while standing at the toppings bar to students enjoying a cup of yogurt while socializing and adults of all ages walking in and letting their inner child release.
As I did more research about the company, I learned more about Menchie’s community involvement. Over the years, Menchie’s stores have come together to raise awareness through fundraising and have partnered with numerous organizations such as American Red Cross in its relief efforts after hurricane Sandy, through the fundraiser they called “The Smile after the Storm.” Whether it was for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Heart Association or Make-A-Wish Foundation, Menchie’s every effort has been all about “spreading smiles.” In fact, our mission statement simply put is “We Make You Smile.” From this we were convinced that we wanted to bring this concept, in which the company’s mission and product places first and foremost focus on the people
and community, to our hometown of Gainesville, FL.
We at Menchie’s strive to create lasting memories by offering to be the friendliest place on earth with a mission to make every guest smile through our 3-P principle: People, Place and Product.
- People: Menchie’s values are embedded in our People – our team members and our friendly customer service
- Place: our unique, warm, happy, and inviting store design
- Product: highest quality, variety and innovation
Menchie, our mascot, is a source of inspiration to our team members as well as kids and adults around the world. Over the years, we have created interactive characters named after toppings such as Chip, Sprinkle, Mookie and various others. Our store contains multiple other interactive elements such as chalkboards for kids and individuals of all ages, enjoyable music, arts and crafts, and indoor/outdoor seating areas where friends and family gather. With its own proprietary portfolio of frozen yogurt, Menchie’s guests create their own unique combinations from more than 100 rotating yogurt flavors and over 70 rotating toppings! From our changing feature flavors each month to our collectible spoons and frozen yogurt cakes, we strive to provide an unparalleled Menchie’s experience to each and every guest.
Where do you see Menchie’s in five years?
Within the next five years, we hope to be an established and contributing member of the community through our fundraising events for many causes as well as for local public and private schools in Alachua County, including the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. We also see ourselves raising more awareness through fundraising for our local hospitals including UF Health and North Florida Regional Medical Center. Overall, we want to continue spreading smiles throughout the community to all age groups and hope that we can bring out the inner child in all of us. At Menchie’s every smile counts.
Why did you choose the Butler Plaza location for Menchie’s?
The Butler Plaza expansion is one of the most exciting projects happening in Gainesville at the moment. With numerous nationally known restaurants as well as shopping, and constant activity and traffic in the area, we believe that this area is the center of attraction for Archer Road and a majority of Gainesville activity overall. Butler Plaza is a very connected and convenient location for all members of our community from families with young children to college students and to people of all ages. The area is in walking distance form multiple residential areas located near Archer Road; the RTS bus stops are also located nearby to allow easy access for members of our community who may not have access to a vehicle.
What do you love most about living in Gainesville?
My family and I have lived in Gainesville for 13 years now and we absolutely love the calm and peaceful nature of our hometown, even with various activities going on all year round. Whether it is during Gator football games or during various university and college events, the atmosphere in Gainesville carries such a positive energy all year long. The amazing atmosphere and the genuine people in the community have truly madethis home for us. And who are we kidding, it’s great to be a Florida Gator!
What haven’t we asked you that you want to share with us?
The Menchie’s Private Label Collection is made exclusively with our own custom blend of flavors! We strive to offer something for every guest and strive to use only the highest quality ingredients. Our frozen yogurt is a good source of calcium is it is made with fresh milk from our California dairy, and our California cows have not been treated with artificial growth hormones. Our product line offers multiple options such as gluten-free and vegan as well as many of our flavors containing no high-fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors and no artificial colors. We strive to use natural flavors and keep it simple as possible as well all care about what goes into our food.
For a little history, in July 2010, Menchie’s was awarded first place in Restaurant Business Magazine’s annual “Future 50” list, ranking it the fastest growing in the restaurant industry. In 2011, the company repeated its top mark, achieving second place on the list. Menchie’s has over 540 locations globally. We are ambassadors of goodwill through the power of smiles, and we look forward to bringing a positive contribution to the community…one smile at a time!